Five to the Fargodome
Five Rugby High School wrestlers earned spots in the North Dakota Class B State Individual Tournament at the Fargodome this weekend after qualifying in last week’s Region 3 Finals, held in the Rugby High gym.
Devoted and loud families and friends from across the region packed the RHS gym last Saturday, roaring their approval at every pin, fall, and team point scored.
Early on, district leader Velva dominated in points scored as wrestlers in the heavier weight classes moved up the ranks toward the finals, placing in the top for their divisions. Velva led the team point totals for the day with 196.5.
Rugby’s Bryson Amyotte fell to Velva’s Elizabeth Massine in the 106-pound quarterfinals in 1 minute, 29 seconds, while John Jundt fell to Bishop Ryan’s Gannon Ledoux by 11-4 decision in the 113-pound category, redeeming himself in the 5th place match over MonDak’s Erica Christian when she fell in 15 seconds. Jundt scored 7 points for the Panthers.
Riley Odden punched his ticket to the Fargodome when he placed 1st in the 120-pound category when he won by fall over Velva’s Kelson Mascol in 2 minutes, 45 seconds. He defeated Williams County’s Cristian Lagunes by a 10-6 decision in the semi finals, and won by a 4-2 decision over MonDak’s Austin Harbin for 1st place. Odden scored 22 Panther team points.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Odden said of his win. “I’ve never been to State before.”
Aden Jensen also earned a place on the mat at the Fargodome when he scored 18 points for his team, placing 3rd overall. The 126-pounder defeated Des Lacs-Burlington/Lewis and Clark’s Carter Miller by fall in 54 seconds in the quarterfinals before falling to Velva’s Braetyn Yanish in 1 minute, 26 seconds. Jensen recovered to win by fall over MonDak’s Logan Berg in 1 minute, 50 seconds, and took Bishop Ryan’s Wesley Harvey down in 4 minutes, 42 seconds in the 3rd place match.
132-pounder Austin Schneibel scored 3 points for the Panthers when he placed 6th in his category. Schneibel fell to Williams County’s Hugo Garcia in 5 minutes. After receiving a bye in the first consolation round, Schneibel lost by a 7-1 decision to Stanley’s Leighton Tangsrud. Schneibel fell to Northern Lights’ Gavin Houle in 4 minutes, 46 seconds.
Riley Zachmeier scored 25 points and 1st place for the Panthers when he breezed through both the quarter and semifinals in the 138-pound category in just over a minute in total. Leyton Brunelle of Williams County fell to Zachmeier in 23 seconds in the quarterfinals, while Stanley’s Keyton Meiers fell to Zachmeier in 38 seconds. Zachmeier won the 1st place match by a 13-7 major decision over Northern Lights’ Lyle Lunday.
“I’ve been to State every year, since I was in the 7th grade. This will be my sixth time,” Zachmeier, the son of Coach Craig Zachmeier said of his trip to the Fargodome.
145-pounder Wyatt Schmaltz fell to Velva’s Bransyn Yanish in the quarterfinals, and Kenmare/Bowbells/Burke Central’s Payton Witt in the first consolation round by an 8-6 decision.
Brady Volk secured his spot at the Fargodome when he placed 4th and scored 9 points for the Panthers in the 152-pound division. After a sudden victory defeat to Velva’s Michael Thomas, Volk won by a 14-8 decision over Kenmare/Bowbells/Burke Central’s Skyler Ford. Thomas took 3rd place overall after a 3-1 decision over Volk.
Dylan Grove powered through the quarter and semifinals for the 160-pound division, taking down Stanley’s Camden Reep in 5 minutes, 53 seconds in the quarterfinals, and Des Lacs-Burlington/Lewis and Clark’s Nathan Ferm in 5 minutes, 16 seconds. Grove seemed to dominate the first two minutes of the 1st place round, nearly pinning Velva’s Brayden Selzer, before Selzer flipped from his back to his hands and knees, gaining control of the match to defeat Grove by a 3 minute, 15 second fall. Grove scored 20 points for the Panthers, securing a place at the Fargodome with his 2nd place win.
“I thought I wrestled pretty well,” Grove said after the final match. “But I got tired.”
Grove said of his plan for Fargo, “I’m just going to practice hard every day, with Riley both Rileys,” he smiled. “We’ll make sure we’re ready for State and have fun.”
Riley Zachmeier said his strategy for State centered on having fun, too, rather than focusing on any one particular opponent.
“There’s a lot of good guys,” Zachmeier said. “I’ve messed up before when I’ve prepared for just one guy; that’s cost me. “
Craig Zachmeier said the Panther wrestlers would work on “mainly mental preparation. To move on to the Fargo Dome from the Rugby gym’s a big jump.”
The coach said he expected even more noise from the crowd in the Fargodome.
“The state tournament’s a whole different animal,” he noted with a smile.